Delve into the literal embodiment of losing yourself in a power-packed weekend of literary extravaganza.
The November air is the best time for festivities, especially if you think yourself to be an artsy person who appreciates quiet moments spent in an outdoor café, with a book in hand and acoustic music playing in the background and the grassy field make up for more than enough of these aesthetic pleasures. Imagine three consecutive days of the same, meeting like-minded people- including your favorite International authors- and gaining half-a-year’s worth of content for your Instagram feed.
Amidst the pleasure of enjoying Fall in the retro part of Dhaka City, I have collated all you need to know about the event that puts mind in ecstasy: Dhaka Lit Fest.
A Wholesome Trope that adds the “Lit” to LitFest
Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) is a celebration of diversity and pluralism for literature fanatics, especially popular among the English reading community of Bangladesh. Hosted annually since 2011 in the Bangla Academy premises, the festival can vouch for being one of the pioneers of introducing Bangladesh to the world.
The eighth edition to be held from Thursday, November 8, 2018 to Saturday, November 10, 2018 promises its regular variety of panels conducted by both native and international panelists, provides a gateway for the global literary enthusiasts to discover a philosophical harmony and the likelihood of artistic growth.
“We are unique in having an equally large presence of our own language in the programme.
Our efforts to promote translations and tackle difficult topics head-on have gained us a certain credibility which also makes out programming easier than it was 6 or 7 years ago,” shares one of the directors of the event, Ahsan Akbar in a recent interview published in Arts & Letters of English daily Dhaka Tribune.
He further explains that the reason behind keeping no monetary charges of entrance, unlike other literary festivals around the world is to encourage attendance. The panels will be held in both English and Bengali so that audiences can equally connect to all concepts.
Foreground, Millennials and more
Second only to Ekushey Boi Mela, DLF has remained a class apart in terms of organizing, hospitality and individuality. Frankly, there a number of writers in Bangladesh who feel more comfortable expressing their art in English, which was not widely encouraged in the recent past; the culture changed only recently, which, again, DLF deserves accreditation for.
Bloggers and young writers finally have something they can relate to, the validation and boost their art-form needed. The surrealism of the event had been enhanced in the past by the presence of VS Naipaul, Shashi Tharoor, Adonis, and Tilda Swinton- among many other literary pioneers, in an attempt to forge cultural convergence and conserve the value of Literature in a rapidly materializing world.
Recurring bruises: Women, #MeToo and Social Apathies
DLF continues to rein the realm of freedom: in spirit, existence and expression; like last year, the impending inception of the #MeToo movement in Bangladesh is to be discussed at the event, in distinct contexts over two days- in real life and through Literature. The panelists, organizers and authors have taken it upon themselves to utilize their positions in coming forth with such pressing issues. The unnecessary polarization and intolerance that misogyny seems to reflect is to be discussed at the event, including the fear of religious and cultural collusion.
#MeToo: A conversation about sexual violence (mainly among women) that had stormed social media in 2017 has seen successive indulgence from India this year. A series of actors confessed about the similar gruesome treatment they’ve had in the Bollywood industry, following the movement’s one-year anniversary; ever since, Bangladesh has been awaiting its own edition of the same, which is seemingly being addressed by DLF this season.
Upon launching the schedule and list of panelists, there has been an air of skepticism about the credibility of certain choices among the onlookers; this has been particularly directed at YouTuber Raba Khan, who would be partaking a discussion titled “Women and Wit” with journalist Fariha Panni regarding the hardships of women in entering a male-dominated comedy industry. Gearing no comments from the organizers of the event, keyboard warriors on social media have expressed divided concerns on the matter.
Nonetheless, Dhaka Lit Fest 2018 will be a mixture of good vibes, seriousness and excitement. As we remain livid in expectation of amusing three days, we cannot help but emphasize the necessity of more such events that promote self-awareness, freedom and respectability of creative arts. After all, in a world on the verge of literary extinction, events like DLF come as a breather.